URBANA — Mitt Romney "did a good job" in his speech accepting the Republican presidential nomination, U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson, R-Urbana, said Friday.
And 13th Congressional District GOP candidate Rodney Davis said Romney "laid out a vision for creating jobs, keeping taxes low, cutting spending, and reducing our national debt."
"I thought he did a good job. He laid out a good plan for progress and focused on his background and how he's been successful in other areas," said Johnson, who like Davis did not attend the convention in Tampa, Fla. "I think he made a good case for taking those same talents and transporting them to the United States government. It was a pretty powerful message that laid out some clear alternatives in terms of his economic programs. And I think he did it in a way that wasn't nasty or mean-spirited.
"He talked about the clear differences in terms of his agenda and in terms of economic policy and incentives and trade and his personal history. All of those things combined made an awfully good case."
Johnson had supported U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas for the Republican presidential nomination but has since endorsed Romney.
"A lot of people thought he needed to hit a triple or a home run," Johnson said of Romney's nomination acceptance speech expectations. "I'm not sure it was a home run, but he sure didn't strike out or hit an infield single. It was very, very good."
Johnson said he had no problem with actor-director Clint Eastwood's rambling speech that preceded Romney's.
"My reaction to it is that people are just sick of politics as usual. I'm a big Clint Eastwood fan anyway and he would have had to fall on his face for me to not like what he did," the congressman said. "But I think he made a good case, in a pretty non-partisan way, for the fact that we've had someone in charge who hasn't done a very good job and that it's time for a change."
Johnson said he didn't regret missing the Republican convention. Although he has been in Republican politics for more than 40 years, he's only attended one national convention: Houston 1992.
"I know you can be appointed as a superdelegate, but in all honesty I think conventions are meant in substantial part for people who go out in the vineyards," Johnson said. "I don't want to take the place of someone like a Fred and Marilyn Welch (longtime Republican activists from Urbana), someone who has been a real worker for the party. I don't think that's a good idea. I've turned down opportunities to go. I think it should be there to reward people."
Davis, meanwhile, said Romney gave the necessary attention to economic matters.
"I think he did a great job. The fact that he's going to lay out his five-point plan is going to change the debate to the issues at hand, which I think most Americans care about. If the debate is focused on the economy and jobs, Romney and Ryan win," said Davis, who watched part of Thursday night's festivities with a group of College Republicans in Champaign.
He said Romney also managed to convey a more likable, everyman image.
"I'll be honest with you, I used to have that problem with Romney too," Davis said. "I was working for a different candidate (John McCain) in 2008 but then I got a chance to meet him. And he is probably one of the most likable, down to earth people in politics I've ever met. The more people get to meet Mitt Romney and get to see him, I think that perception goes away."
Davis, who attended Republican conventions in 2004 in New York City and 2008 in Minneapolis, said he was glad to stay home this week.
"I'm happy to have stayed here and campaigned," he said.